In the Swedish/Danish TV series Bron/Broen (aka "The Bridge" ) Charlotte took Goran's daughter to certain building where open casket/coffin with Goran's body was surrounded by candles. Was it public or private place? I.e. is it customary in that country or it was just specific Charlotte's desire.


What you are referring to is a wake.

Wikipedia can fill you in on the details, but I'll add the gist of it here (emphasis is mine):

A wake is a social gathering associated with death, usually held before a funeral. Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased with the body present; however, modern wakes are often performed at a funeral home or another convenient location. In the United States and Canada it is synonymous with a viewing. It is often a social rite that highlights the idea that the loss is one of a social group and affects that group as a whole.

It used to be the custom in most Celtic countries in Europe for mourners to keep watch or vigil over their dead until they were buried — this was called a "wake".

This is a cultural phenomenon, and can be specific from person to person. A great aunt of mine had a wake by her personal request; no one else in my family has had one.

When you ask whether it is public or private; that very much depends what you are focusing on:

  • Traditional wakes were held in the house of the deceased. Modern wakes are usually held in a funeral home. Legally speaking, this is private property (i.e. owned by the family or the funeral director). Access can be denied if the owner so chooses.
  • People can choose to have an open wake (anyone can visit), or only have a wake with a close group of friends and family. That's a personal decision.
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